SAINT LEO, Fla. – After falling to Tampa in a 59-57 heartbreaker back in January, the Saint Leo men's basketball team rallied for a 57-51 win over the Spartans, Wednesday night from the Marion Bowman Center on the Saint Leo campus. The victory pushed the Lions' overall record to 19-6, while earning them a 7-5 record in the SSC.
The first half was a battle for both teams, as the Lions and Spartans fought nearly basket for basket in the first 19 minutes of play. With the clock at 1:18 in the first period, junior Taylor Basset sank a three-pointer and back to back free throws, giving the Lions the momentum they needed to take a 28-25 lead heading into halftime.
After the buzzer sounded to begin the second half, however, Saint Leo surged ahead of their opponent, taking a lead that they would not lose for the rest of the contest. With the final seconds winding off the clock, the Lions cruised home to a 57-51 victory.
Holding Tampa to just 35 percent from the field, the Saint Leo defense forced ten Tampa turnovers, while also collecting six steals and 35 total rebounds. Senior Spenser Mitchell and junior Taylor Bassett combined for the Lions' three blocks.
As a team, the Lions shot 20-48 (42 percent) from the field in the win, sinking ten of 14 free throws (72 percent) and hitting one-third of their three-point shots. In addition, the squad tallied 13 assists.
Individually, sophomore Jaylon Bell led the Lions' team in scoring, with ten points. Senior Jerrel Harris and junior Cale Girten also contributed with nine points and eight points, respectively. Junior Ron Foxx and Taylor Bassett each recorded seven points.
The Lions' squad will return to action on Wednesday, February 19 when they head to Lakeland, Fla. to take on the Florida Southern Mocs. Tipoff for the SSC contest is set for 7:30 p.m.
For more on the Saint Leo men's basketball team, visit SaintLeoLions.com. Also, be sure to 'Like' the Lions on Facebook and 'Follow' Saint Leo Athletics on Twitter and Instagram.